Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 9, 1898.djvu/103
I am informed by a friend who has spent some time in Florida, U.S.A., that the negresses there embroider the corners of their pillow-shams and bed-spreads with hand-bells. The embroidery is done in red cotton on a white cotton, or linen, foundation. Sometimes feathers are also introduced into the design. Is this use of bells merely ornamental, or is it connected with an old negro behef ? Bells were not infrequently embroidered on bed-curtains and other hangings, as also on ecclesiastical vestments, in the Middle Ages.
In a Hampshire village until a recent date, if not at the present time, a piece of red tape was tied round one of the thighs of a woman in child-bed, as it was supposed to mitigate the labour-pains and to prevent any mishap. Is the custom known elsewhere ?
The girdles of saints, and other holy or magical belts, were formerly placed round women's waists to facilitate delivery (Folk-Lore, vol. iv. p. 467 ; The Antiquary, October, 1894, p. 160); but do other instances occur of girding such a band round the thigh ?
Is it not probable that the tape used was red, because that colour is powerful against the evil-eye, and witchcraft in general ? Were parturient animals ever assisted by means of a sacred or lucky band of this kind ?
I am writing to ascertain whether the divining rod is still used in the Mendips for finding mineral veins (it was as late as 1872),